Starting today, ISPs must display labels with price, speeds, and data caps

A Comcast service van seen from behind.

Getty Images | Smith Collection/Gado

A sample consumer label for home Internet service.
Enlarge / A sample consumer label for home Internet service.


Starting today, home Internet and mobile broadband providers in the US are required to display consumer labels with information on prices, speeds, and data allowances.

“Today’s nationwide launch of the Broadband Consumer Labels means internet service providers are now required to display consumer-friendly labels at the point of sale,” the Federal Communications Commission said. “Labels are required for all standalone home or fixed Internet service or mobile broadband plans. Providers must display the label—not simply an icon or link to the label—in close proximity to an associated plan’s advertisement.”

The labels are required now for providers with at least 100,000 subscribers, while ISPs with fewer customers have until October 10, 2024, to comply. “If a provider is not displaying their labels or has posted inaccurate information about its fees or service plans, consumers can file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center,” an agency webpage says.

The October 10 date will also bring an additional requirement that providers “make the labels machine-readable to enable third parties to more easily collect and aggregate data for the purpose of creating comparison-shopping tools for consumers,” the FCC said.

What to look for

The FCC issued a consumer advisory telling broadband users what to look for in the labels. Labels should include the monthly price, state whether it is an introductory rate, the amount of time that an introductory rate applies, and the price after any introductory rate expires. The labels must include any additional monthly charges, one-time fees, early termination fees, and taxes.

Speed information should include typical download speed, upload speed, and latency. For data caps, the labels should state how much data is included with the monthly price and how much consumers have to pay for additional usage.

Labels should also include links to information on discounts and service bundles, network management practices, and privacy policies.

ISPs complained, but now comply

The FCC was required to implement broadband label rules in a 2021 law passed by Congress, and the agency approved the label rules in November 2022. The rules didn’t take effect until now in part because they were subject to a federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review under requirements in the US Paperwork Reduction Act.

Comcast and other ISPs complained that listing every monthly fee would be too difficult, but the FCC rejected the industry’s petition to weaken the rules. Big ISPs appear to be complying with the rules so far.

Comcast set up a webpage where you can enter your address to find broadband labels for each speed tier. You can also see the Comcast labels by adding a broadband plan to your cart using the company’s standard checkout process.

We confirmed today that broadband labels are being displayed by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Charter Spectrum on their checkout pages. Google Fiber got things rolling early by launching its labels in October 2023.

In addition to the broadband labels, the FCC is forcing TV providers to advertise “all-in” prices instead of using hidden fees to conceal the full cost of video service. The FCC voted to adopt the TV price rule last month, but it is subject to a Paperwork Reduction Act review before it can take effect.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top